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Grade the Players: Brandon Carlo had a decent season, but next year will be key

On defense, “under the radar” is a good thing.

Boston Bruins v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Two Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

Grade: B-

When trying to come up with a word to describe Brandon Carlo’s season, “decent” was the first thing that came to mind. I was going to go with “unremarkable,” but that has a bit more of a negative connotation than Carlo deserves.

Overall, Carlo had a good season. He wasn’t spectacular, he wasn’t bad. He was reasonably solid, which is a good thing for a 23-year-old defenseman (he recently turned 24).

While not known as an offensive dynamo, Carlo actually set a career high in points last season with 19. He’s never going to be a guy who rushes end-to-end and puts the puck in the net, but 19 points in 67 games is a decent contribution.

Carlo continues to learn how to use his size, albeit not always in the way some Bruins fans want. Standing at 6’ 5”, some fans want to see Carlo get a bit more physical; however, he’d be better served to continue to learn how to use his frame for positioning and focusing his strength on board battles.

The latter is an area in which I thought Carlo improved a bit this season, a good sign for a kid who continues to find his game.

It’s easy to get impatient with Carlo’s development, as he’s been a Bruins regular for four years now; however, as mentioned above, he was still only 22 or 23 years old last season. Plus, he’s made progress every year. In the past few seasons, he seemed to have a game every now and then where he’d make a major gaffe. Those games dried up this season, which is a good sign.

Now, we have to address the elephant in the room: next year is going to be an interesting one for Carlo, as his longtime defense partner has skipped town. Torey Krug and Carlo were joined at the hip for a long time, and were a good partnership. Carlo was a bit more of the defensive type, while Krug was a bit more offensive. It worked.

This season, Carlo’s dealing with a little bit of a wild card. Who’s going to be his partner? It’s hard to say, especially because the Bruins still don’t seem to know if Zdeno Chara is coming back. We should expect some speed bumps as Carlo adjusts to a new partner, whoever it may be. Those bumps could come at a tough time for Carlo personally, however, as he’ll be playing for his next contract this season.

With Krug gone and Chara back for (at most) one more season, the Bruins need Carlo’s development to continue at a steady pace.

He’s going to be leaned up more heavily sooner rather than later.


Nobody is as purely defensive as Carlo has been.


What is your grade for Brandon Carlo?

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  • 24%
    (46 votes)
  • 69%
    (133 votes)
  • 5%
    (10 votes)
  • 1%
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
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191 votes total Vote Now